Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I also learned some lessons, and for instance when the back appliance room was particularly cold (being neither heated nor really insulated), I ran the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher to avoid water freezing in the tuperware containers.
With a lot of help from the tractor, they got one piece off of the pile. It was far too big for the chainsaw to be able to cut it to length, so they set it up to drive in wedges in an attempt to split it.
They managed...barely. At one point all 4 wedges were driven in seemingly as far as they could go and they thought they were stuck. But they continued and slowly got the wood to budge.
They finally did get it to split, and then Troy could use his chainsaw to cut it in half.
Here is one quarter of the trunk they were working on:
Here is the other half (still not cut to length):
Isaac split some of the larger pieces. They needed some help from the tractor as they moved them to the splitter and positioned them.
One piece did end up being too much for the poor splitter. It did actually split the wood, but then the wedge got stuck in the wood (which sometimes happens). As it was lifted, the bar that's supposed to push the wood off of the wedge broke a weld instead:
Isaac laid off the really big pieces after that. Troy will have to fix it later.
And I'll leave you with a picture of spring:
I didn't plant these bulbs (snowbells?) and don't have anything like them as far as I remember. Some squirrel kindly planted them for me from a neighbour's garden, I presume!
Monday, March 15, 2010
However, I ran across a reference to a genuine success story about food, and farming, and the environment. So, since I am more interested in fixing the problem, than I am about worrying about it, go watch this:
This is from the TED series, ideas worth sharing. They generally run from 5-15 minutes, and are often brilliant and outstanding. They run the gamut from astrophysics and the meaning and origin of the universe, to, well, fish farming.
While this specific post is about fish farming, the general principles discussed would immediately be recognized by the organic gardener as well. It's all about the relationships. It's an excellent summary of what I am striving for on our little seven acres.
Micro-update on the building process, Isaac and I will likely paint the shop this week if we can move all the junk out of the the way.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Conversation on the way home from church Sunday:
Troy: I really wish one of us really liked to cook...
Christina: Ya, that would be easier.
Troy: ...especially if it was you.
So we still struggle with putting food on the table every night. Right now Troy's working hard on emptying the freezer of meat as we expect another pig this spring from our neighbour farmer. We've also been experimenting with cooking on top of the oil stove in the kitchen. Troy recently got a cast iron dutch oven at the church's youth auction and it is particularly suited to the oil stove.
We've found these "one pot" dinners are a super way to use all the canned carrots we have (and weren't eating as a veggie side). We're also still working on potatoes from last fall. They are storing well in the shop, and besides being a little extra dusty are just as good now as they were last fall.
I also finally broke down and bought a new hot-air popcorn popper. I'd gotten the last one as an engagement gift, 18 years ago! (Thank you, Tammy.) The new one does such a better job; I should have bought it sooner rather than put up with bad overcooked popcorn for the last year. This is related, by the way, to the previous topic as popcorn is my first choice for a quick late dinner. (Especially as it is usually Troy making it for me!!)
Sunday, March 07, 2010
The weather, by the way, turned out perfect; it never did rain. It was warm enough to work in just a sweatshirt (even me!) and not too bright and sunny. I commented to Troy at some point just how perfect a day it was for working outside and that if it were sunny I would regret having to work, even if I was outside.
But you know I love the sun; I can't hold a grudge.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I walked around for a while and finally identified it. He had removed the little "butler table" shelf that was in the pantry between the kitchen and dining room. Looking around a little more, I saw he had started his plants in the dining room in a large heated box. I assumed the box didn't fit through the space and Troy was sick of it. (Sick of bumping into things, I mean.)
Here is the corner I'm talking about before we moved in:
Here's how it's been for the last couple years:
Not a great angle, but you can see the drawers that opened to the dining room had been removed (and all the lathe and plaster, obviously).
And here it is as of yesterday:
The drawers that opened into the walkway were removed and the left wall and open shelf above the drawers were trimmed back to the same depth as the other shelves. It really is amazing how much wider it makes it.
Current long term plans for that little walkway include pantry shelves, but they won't jut into the space as much as these ones did. I doubt there'll be drawers into the dining room. And on the opposite wall there may be room for narrow shelves for a lot of canning storage.
And back to the pile of wood in the middle of the kitchen...I just walked around it. It was apparent to me that Troy had already cleaned up a lot. (It was in a neat pile, after all.) And I figured he had plans for cleaning up the rest of it as well.
The Olympics being over, I will also update you on what else Troy's been up to. He's been making a lot of soap. Three batches over the last couple weeks. He's trying different combinations of oils, including primo high end mixes with olive oil.
The spare bedroom has become a soap curing facility.
Troy's also experimenting with colouring the soap, and produced a very lovely shade of spring green:
Change of author...
Christina has pretty much hit the nail on the head. Here it is from my perspective.
Every day is an adventure at our house. You never know, with certainty, what will take place that day.
On Tuesdays, I only work six hours at my day job. That leaves me free to putter around the house and the shop until 1:15 in the afternoon. Tuesday's goal was to get the pepper plants planted and set up in the germination box. It was a simple enough goal and should not have taken more than 30 minutes.. We didn't take that direct path though...
A little background first. Twice in the last two years I have failed to get a successful bunch of garden plants started early enough to provide good yields at the appropriate time in the season. The first time, I was just late. You have to start tomato seeds a good eight weeks before the date of the average last frost. I planted mine at six weeks, and had runty little four inch plants to set out. That turned out badly.
The next year ('09), I had carefully set up my calendar to get my full eight week early start. But my potting soil mix went all moldy and killed all the seedlings. Dashed again! By the time I replanted, I was late again and got skimpy wimpy little tomato plants again. Rats!
This year, I had taken every precaution. I was on a mission. I was not to be deterred. The date was carefully marked on the calendar. The perfect anti-fungal sterile potting mix selected and mixed up. All the little sterilized pots carefully set up on their little tray that I set in the home built heated germination box. Everything was in readiness.
However, there is a narrow little passage between our kitchen and our "dining" room, which serves as my plant nursery at the moment. It's a consequence of two dinky doorways with a lot of trim, and the stairway to the upstairs, all conspiring to make for a tight squeeze. Danged if I didn't snag a corner on my tray squeezing through that passageway, and dump a load of pots and soil all over creation.
This is not the first time I have run into trouble squeezing through there. It's just too tight. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. Something snapped inside of me. I grabbed a wrecking bar and I tore every piece of trim out and made both doorways a good two inches wider all around. I cut off the shelf that stuck out into the passageway. I totally removed the superfluous door frame. Ahhhhh! So much better.
There is nothing quite so cathartic as demolition with a vengeance and a purpose.
Of course, the consequence is that Christina came home from work to find a substantial pile of debris and destruction sitting in the middle of the kitchen. What can I say? Living through a remodel is a new adventure at every turn. I'll have the wreckage bagged up and taken care of
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